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Rediff.com  » Business » Now, a real estate start-up for expat rentals

Now, a real estate start-up for expat rentals

April 13, 2015 14:31 IST

The company says it aims to be a one-stop shop for all expats, whereby they’d be able to rent furniture, electronics, hire taxis and other allied services

RealtyA Swiss national, working for a German non-government body in India, was recently looking for a house on rent in this city but faced difficulties as a foreigner.

She then came across a new real estate brokerage, catering exclusively to housing needs of only expatriates, making her search easier.

Itak Solutions is among the very few brokers focused on expat housing needs. These companies help foreigners identify suitable houses and also negotiate rents at the level an Indian would pay for the same accommodation.

“It is fast becoming a new niche market for real estate brokerage firms. In future, there will be a spree of solutions and services meant for expats in India by Indian firms,” according to a Gurgaon-based consultant.

A start-up in the realty space, Itak started offering real estate services to expats about eight months earlier.

It does around three deals a month, and wants to take it up to 15 a month, says founder Yashraj Singh. The present focus areas are central and south Delhi; Gurgaon would soon be added.

It is also in discussion with various private equity firms for raising funds to expand services.

Singh has experience of the realty sector, having worked in DLF and the Brahma group.

“I always wanted to start something of my own. Itak was started for providing data management solutions to global clients but soon after, we started offering real estate services to expats.

"Many of my foreign friends and clients were facing problems while renting a place in India. There is a huge opportunity,” he told Business Standard.

The Delhi/National Capital Region is one of the biggest locations for expats.

And, “foreign nationals face discrimination and many a times are charged higher than market rates. We make sure they are treated at par with Indians,” he said.

While renting a place, tenants have to normally sign a one-year agreement with the owner but since many expats stay only for a few months, the search has to be done at a different level.

The company says it aims to be a one-stop shop for all expats, whereby they’d be able to rent furniture, electronics, hire taxis and other allied services.

So far, the company has relied on word of mouth publicity and free advertising.

The home rental market is otherwise facing a slowdown.

The only exception is fully furnished homes in specific locations, where rents are moving upwards.

Overall, the realty market has experienced declining sales and rising inventory, coupled with funding issues for developers.

Mansi Taneja in New Delhi
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